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By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2017

Brisbane's Best New Bars Of 2017

Honouring the best new additions to Brisbane's bar scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2017


Honouring the best new additions to Brisbane's bar scene this year.

Brisbane's cultural ecosystem is booming. Cafes and bars are opening on a (almost) weekly basis, restaurants and pubs are more forward-thinking and imaginative than ever and you can find innovative cultural events and pop-up spaces to visit every day of the week.

Bars continue to offer immersive, imaginative experiences that take you beyond their drinks lists — you can drink cocktails at a bar hidden in a bottle-o, climb the stairs of a two-level gin oasis and sip house-made sodas while playing arcade games.

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented whippersnappers pushing Brisbane to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new bars, opened in 2017, were nominated for Best New Bar in Concrete Playground's Best of 2017 Awards.

  • 6

    If the idea of sampling a range of gins from around the world appeals to you, you’d best be planning a trip to Covent Garden sharpish. Drawing on its London namesake for inspiration, the venue is nestled on Boundary Street in West End and is a stunning spot for a first date, a third date, a relaxed Sunday lunch, or late night supper and cocktails. Food ranges from snacks to more serious dinner fare like the seared wagyu ($38) or pork cheeks with sherry and nashi pear ($22). The wine list is restrained but perfectly sufficient, while the cocktail list has to be experienced first hand. Plus, in a delightfully fun twist, you can get high tea ($45 pp) at Covent Garden until 6pm every day with a pitcher of Covent Garden G&Tea and an assortment of sweet and savoury delights.

    Vote for Covent Garden West End.

  • 5

    Electric Avenue is the kind of place you could kick-start your evening, drop by late or hang around all night. Electric Avenue boasts ex-Sourced Grocer chef Will Quartel in the kitchen, whipping up more than just your usual bar food. Whole grilled kimchi-glazed fish, blackened duck breast and black garlic crepes — yes, that’s a dessert — are just some of the menu standouts. Lunch includes the Fish and Bush combo of crispy fish and tempura saltbush, while snacks range from pork crackling with pecan salt and pepper and corn husk aioli to crispy cockscomb (that’s the top ‘comb’ on the chicken, in case you didn’t know) with spicy remoulade. Patrons can wash all of that down with their choice of more than 70 wines, or a range of cocktails. Electric Avenue also has over five function space options, including a secret whisky room — so consider booking for your next party or work shindig.

    Vote for Electric Avenue.

  • 4

    Shelves of board games. Rows of arcade games. A wall of old-school consoles with retro televisions to match. Daytona given pride of place. The sound of The Simpsons‘ theme filtering through the playing space. Welcome to Netherworld, Brisbane’s first arcade game bar. A stage, projector and pull-down screen sit at the end of the space, meaning that live gigs and more are in the hangout’s future. Yes, for a place named after somewhere hellish or hidden, it’s all rather inviting, which also fits the food and drink lineup. At the Hellmouth Diner, American and Japanese influences infiltrate a selection of bar fare that aims higher than the greasy usual bites to eat. All standard items such as burgers, burritos and bowls are also vegan-friendly, though meat and dairy can be added. And if you’re keen on something other than the range of beers on tap, wine, spirits, cocktails and house-made sodas are also on offer, with the latter available as boozy ‘loaded’ versions as well.

    Vote for Netherworld.

  • 3

    Pull up a seat at the bar and order a cocktail, or just get a Sailor Jerry and dry — the atmosphere is perfect for either at Deathproof. They have a pretty impressive backbar and a solid cocktail menu, with their signature cocktail (featuring apricot, lemon, pineapple, and house salted pineapple and cinnamon syrup) served in a glass skull. Now, on to the other important part: the food. Maybe get a basket of battered pickles or onion rings to snack on while you’re waiting for your reuben, wings or tacos. On Thursday nights it’s all about the cheese with $10 toasties (the Sloppy Joe and the Los Cubano are solid faves), and you can never really go wrong with the ooze-fest that is poutine. Partnerships with local artists, brands and events make this an ever-changing space where you’ll always be able to get a drink and some tasty eats on Brunswick Street.

    Vote for Deathproof.

  • 2

    It looks like a scene plucked straight from a James Bond film — the protagonist peeks down a laneway and spies a lone doorman standing silently under a fire escape. Upon entering the hidden venue, they’re whisked to a dimly lit bar located conveniently behind a suit shop. A hot or cold towel is offered upon arrival, alongside a complimentary seasonal palate cleanser. There is no menu, instead the bartender, talking in hushed tones, discusses the perfect drink to help soothe an irksome day. Cocktails are the main game here, but there is a neatly curated beer and wine list also available (which changes frequently). Even the ice is bespoke, with the bartender hand-chipping squares from a large block. It’s the kind of imbibing that Sean Connery himself would be proud to take part in.

    Vote for The Cloakroom Bar.

  • 1

    Named after the Archer planes, Archer’s Brewing pumps out yeasty beverages of the mid-strength lager, pilsner, pale ale and IPA variety, all using Australian ingredients. Archer’s Bunker, however, is the place where the magic happens. If you’re wondering why it’s called a bunker, the site’s space beneath The International Hotel in Spring Hill answers that question. To find the bar, eager drinkers should look for the Archer Brewing fridge inside the Cellarbrations bottle-o on the premises. Once inside, a few themed items — helmets, paintings and the like — keep the high-flying vibe going, while the decor is dark and earthy like an underground shelter. Patrons can snack on cheese and charcuterie share boards, oven-fired pizzas, vegetable rice paper rolls and a vegetarian board that comes with grilled haloumi.

    Vote for Archer’s Bunker.

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